Childhood Obesity: a Global Public Health Crisis

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Childhood Obesity: A Global Public Health Crisis
Sameera Karnik, Amar Kanekar1

Correspondence to:
Ass. Prof. Amar Kanekar, Department
of Health Studies, East Stroudsburg
University of Pennsylvania, East
Stroudsburg, PA, USA.
E‑mail: akanekar@po‑box.esu.edu

Date of Submission: Sep 17, 2011
Date of Acceptance: Oct 27, 2011
How to cite this article: Karnik S, Kanekar A.
Childhood Obesity: A Global Public Health Crisis. Int J
Prev Med 2012;3:1-7.

ABSTRACT
Introduction: Childhood obesity is a major public health crisis nationally and internationally. The prevalence of childhood obesity has increased over few years. It is caused by imbalance between calorie intake and calories utilized. One or more factors (genetic, behavioral, and environmental) cause obesity in children. Physical, psychological, and social health problems are caused due to childhood obesity. Hence, effective intervention strategies are being used to prevent and control obesity in children. The purpose of this manuscript is to address various factors influencing childhood obesity, a variety of interventions and governmental actions addressing obesity and the challenges ahead for managing this epidemic.

Methods: In order to collect materials for this review a detailed search of CINAHL, MEDLINE, ERIC, Academic Search Premier
databases was carried out for the time period 1999‑2011.
Results: S ome of the interventions used were family based, school based, community based, play based, and hospital based. The
effective school‑based interventions were seen targeting physical activity along with healthy diet education. The major challenges faced by these intervention programs are financial, along with stigmatization of obese children. Governments along with other health care organizations are taking effective actions like policy changing and environmentally safe interventions for children to improve physical activity.

Conclusions: I n conclusion, childhood obesity can be tackled at the population level by education, prevention and sustainable interventions related to healthy nutrition practices and physical activity promotion.

Keywords: C alorie imbalance, childhood obesity, interventions, physical activity, policy changing

INTRODUCTION
Obesity is a major public health crisis among children and
adults.[1,2] The range of weights for individuals if greater than the ideal weight, which is considered healthy for the particular height, is termed as either overweight or obese. Childhood‑related obesity is an increasing concern with respect to the health and International Journal of Preventive Medicine, Vol 3, No 1, January 2012

www.mui.ac.ir

1

Review Article

Masters of Public Health Program, American
Public University, 1Department of Health Studies,
East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania,
East Stroudsburg, PA, USA

Karnik and Kanekar: Childhood obesity crisis

well‑being of the child. Body mass index (BMI),
a measure of weight with relation to height, is not
only used as an outcome measure to determine
obesity but also as a useful anthropometric index
for cardiovascular risk.[3] For children between 2
and 19 years, BMI is plotted on the CDC growth
chart to check for the corresponding age and sex
related percentile. Childhood obesity is defined as
a BMI at or above 95th percentile for children of
same age and sex.[4] Classifications of obesity in
children depend upon the body composition of the
child, as it varies with respect to age and sex of the
child.[4]

MAGNITUDE OF THE PROBLEM
The prevalence of childhood obesity is increasing
in developed and underdeveloped countries.[5] The
development in reducing the problem of obesity
and overweight is monitored nationally by
using data from National Health and Nutrition
Examination Survey. The report presented by
NHANES for the year 2007‑2008 estimated that
16.9% of children and adolescent in the age group
of 2‑19 years were obese.[6] Childhood obesity...
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